COVID-19 support for the tourism sector

Find out what support is available to help tourism and hospitality businesses in the Highlands and Islands

Support for tourism and hospitality businesses

We recognise the extreme impact of COVID-19 on businesses operating in and reliant on the tourism sector across our region. We're working closely with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Tourism Alliance and our partner agencies to make sure all businesses impacted are represented as available support is developed.

The Scottish Government continues to develop support packages which are being provided by a range of public agencies, local authorities and partners. Daily updates are also available from the Scottish Tourism Alliance and VisitScotland.

Funding and business support 

For the most up to date information and support relevant to tourism businesses, visit the Find Business Support website.

The site includes information on: applying for grants to help with the impact of COVID-19; social distancing – what this mean for your business; business rates (non-domestic rates) changes and extra rates relief; the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme; the job Retention support and deferring VAT and Income Tax payments, and business closures. 

We’ve set out some of the key funding schemes available below, but please ensure you explore the Find Business Support website to see the full range of support available that you could be eligible for.

  • Local Authorities - coronavirus grants Scottish Local Authorities are managing grants for businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Phase two of the grant scheme is now open - from 05 May 2020, small business rate payers will be eligible for a 100% grant on their first property plus a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.  

  • Bounce Back Loan Scheme Small businesses will be able to apply for quick and easy-to-access loans from 4 May and will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with the cash arriving within days. Loans will be 100% government backed for lenders, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

Please also look at our main financial support page for our most up to date list of all UK and Scottish Government support packages. 

Rebuilding Scotland's tourism industry together

The final phases of the COVID-19 National Action Plan have been published in May 2020.

The recovery of this crucial £11 billion industry requires a multi-agency approach, working with the tourism industry to help those affected today, tomorrow and in the future.

The Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) has created a single, joined-up, phased plan to not just combat the current issues but also look at how the industry could effectively recover once the lockdown is eased.

The STERG’s immediate priorities are to support businesses by providing information and reassurance; safeguarding employment; and helping them access financial assistance to maintain cashflow and secure a viable future.

Download the action plan

For further information about the plan, go to the VisitScotland website

The STERG consists of COSLA, HIE, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, the Scottish Tourism Alliance, and chaired by VisitScotland.